Easiest Freshwater Fish to Breed – A Guide For Beginners

  • By:

    Alina Andreeva
    Alina Andreeva

    Author: Alina Andreeva

    Alina A. is a professional writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 30 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.

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  • Updated on: 10/02/2020

Creating your first aquarium environment can be very exciting and a significant part of the process is choosing which fish you want to include. However, as with anything in life, it is important to ensure that you do not try to run before walking. As a beginner, it would be unwise to choose some of the most difficult-to-care-for fish on the market, not to mention unfair on the animals themselves. When it comes to breeding, this is even more prevalent, so ease yourself into the process by picking out some simple options. Once you master beginner fish’s general breeding process, you can gradually move on to more complicated, exciting, and expensive options. Fortunately for you, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to the easiest freshwater fish to breed for beginners!

easiest freshwater fish to breed@pookpiik / FreePik

RELATED ARTICLE: Most Exotic Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Before getting into the names and details, it is important to understand that live-bearing fish are often far easier to breed than egg-laying fish. What is the difference? – We hear you ask; the clue is in the name. Live bearing fish give birth to live fish, meaning you can see the little babies swimming around seconds after being born. On the other hand, egg-laying fish give birth to eggs, meaning you then have to wait for them to hatch. No matter what type of fish breeding you prefer, you should look to keep the fry in a separate tank away from your other adult fish as some will attempt to eat the babies. Live bearing fish are far simpler to breed for a number of reasons, most importantly, because the parents mate easily. However, once born, fried fish or livebearers are easier to care for in terms of food and location.

Easiest Freshwater Fish to Breed in an Aquarium

Here are the 9 best freshwater live-bearing fish to breed:

1. Guppies

guppy is easiest fish to breed

Arguably one of the most popular and easiest tropical fish to breed. We are not exaggerating when we say that, in order to breed guppies, all you need is a clean environment, a male fish, and a female fish. Having said that, you can increase your chances by having a larger pool of female guppies than males. Not only is it simple to kickstart the mating process, but fry guppies also stand a very high chance of surviving as they are born full-formed. The most challenging thing with this species of fish is getting them to stop breeding.

2. Platies

platy fish easiest fish to breed

While platies are almost as easy to breed as guppies, there is one key difference, platies are known to hunt their own fry. Yes, you read that correctly, the parents will eat their own babies. Due to this fact, the survival rate of platies fry is far below that of guppies. One way to combat this is to include dense plants life and loads of hiding spots around your aquarium to ensure that the fry can remain safe and out of sight. Another, more efficient technique is to place the mother into a breeding tank before removing her once the fry are born. This allows them to grow without the risk of being eaten.

3. Mollies

black mollies fish easiest to breedfishkeepingworld.com

We would describe these as very efficient and prolific breeders within the fish community. However, they would perhaps be considered one step above your absolute novice breeder due to their picky attitude. The conditions for breeding must be perfect, but once said conditions are met, they reproduce for fun. In terms of fry survival, if they are kept in a tank with mollies only, as well as a steady source of food, adults that are not hungry, and dense plant life, most will survive. Do not attempt to keep the fry in a normal tank with other fish, otherwise they will be swiftly hunted. 

4. Ameca Splendens

ameca splenden easy fish to breedcommons.wikimedia.org

These are nowhere near as popular as they once were among the aquarium community, however, that does not change the fact that they are great breeders. They are also extremely interesting to watch during the birthing process, as it can be likened more to humans than some other fish. The mother gives birth to fry almost half her own size and, once the babies emerge, an umbilical-cord-like extension, called the trophotaenia, can be seen. 

5. Anableps

anableps fish easy to breedcommons.wikimedia.org

Also often referred to as four-eyed fish due to their unique sight, anableps are excellent breeders. These are perfect for those looking for larger fish, as the species can grow to one foot in length. However, the anableps also possess a rather unique method of mating known as one-sided breeding. The sexual organs are located on one side of the body, meaning that a left-sided male can only reproduce with a right-sided female. Therefore, you must ensure that you have a good mixture of male and females in the tank and right and left-sided. You should also know that anableps can become aggressive when they feel under threat or ready to give birth.

6. Swordtails

swordtail fish easy breeding

Known for their dark pointed rears, the swordtail is another prolific live-bearing breeder. You should aim for a male to female ratio of 3:1 with this species to reduce stress and anger. Much like many of the above, all they need is a spacious and clean tank to kickstart the breeding process. When it comes to the fry, you can keep them in the same tank as their parents as long as there is plenty of dense plants and moss to serve as hiding spots and food.

READ MORE: Best Fish Combinations for Freshwater Aquarium

Egg-laying fish are a little harder to care for than live-bearing fish, and we would recommend the latter. However, if you are looking to take the next step or have your heart set on an egg-layer, then here are some great breeders to go for.

7. Zebra Danios

zebra danio fish easiest to breed

The fun and stripy fish are perfect for breeding, as well as being an energetic presence around your tank. You should look to place the fish in their own tank for the mating process, keeping them there throughout the birthing too. Try to aim for two males to every one female. As soon as the eggs have been laid, take the adults out of the tank, leaving just the eggs and eventual fry. This fry will be born transparent, so keep as close an eye on them as you can and start feeding them once they start to swim around the tank.

8. Firemouth Cichlids

firemouth cichlids easy breeding

Once again, these are perfect fish for those who are looking for something a little bigger, as they can grow up to six inches. You should look to keep a pair of breeding Firemouths in a 50-gallon tank, keeping the water clean. You can also choose to buy six to eight juveniles together and keep them in one tank as they will likely couple up over time. Unlike some species, the Firemouths are very good parents and will watch over the fry rather than trying to eat them. In fact, the fry often stays at their mother and father’s side until they are more than three weeks old. 

READ MORE: Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants

9. Rosy Red Minnows

rosy red minnows fishes easiest breeding

This species is also known as the Fathead Minnow, the Tuffy, and the Blackhead Minnow. They grow to be 2-4 inches in length and, although they are used as bait or feeder fish by some, many also enjoy keeping them as pets. Let’s just say that the male and female Rosy Red Minnows rarely need to be asked twice when mating/breeding. You should be looking to invest in Minnows around one year in age to breed successfully and safely. You should also be aware that a mother can hatch hundreds of eggs and will only look after them until they have hatched. Once the fry is swimming around, remove the parents to avoid them feeding on their young. 

READ MORE: How to Set Up Freshwater Aquarium

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